Ahead of the 21st UN climate change conference in Paris, more than 170 nations submitted plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But experts say the proposed targets end up falling far short of what is needed to mitigate against drastic heating of the planet, and that the agreements during the negotiations are not likely to be binding. We discuss what’s at stake in Paris and how activists are responding with bestselling author Naomi Klein, author of "This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate."
"If You're Not at the Table, You're on the Menu": Indigenous Activists Demand Role in Paris Climate Talks
Across the world, indigenous and poor communities who have contributed least to carbon pollution are most often the most impacted by climate change, which which threatens their land, food supply and access to water. At the UN Climate Change summit in Paris, we speak with indigenous activists about the existential threat of climate change.
Among those who took to the streets of Paris in protest Sunday was the French farmer, activist and politician José Bové, one of the world’s leading critics of corporate globalization and genetically modified organisms. Bové is a sheep farmer who became famous for helping to destroy a McDonald’s under construction in France to protest trade policies that hurt small farmers. He is also a member of the European Parliament. Bové joins us to discuss France’s ban on protests in the aftermath of the Paris attacks and what’s at stake at the United Nations summit on climate change.
Democracy Now! catches up with Dallas Goldtooth of the comedy group the 1491s, and his father Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network, at The Place to B, a Paris hostel that serves as the center for independent journalists covering COP21. Tom Goldtooth recently won the Gandhi Peace Award. "If you look at the scenario we’re facing right now in Paris, you have a heightened police state, you have unreasonable bureaucracy, limited resources," Dallas says.
"This is our element as frontline communities. This is the world we exist in."
Shortly after arriving in France for the United Nations Climate Summit, President Obama laid a single rose at a memorial for the victims of the Paris attacks outside the Bataclan, the concert hall where the deadliest violence took place on November 13th. Democracy Now! visited the site on Saturday night.
A major rally in Paris on the eve of the U.N. climate summit was canceled after authorities banned public protests in the aftermath of this month’s Islamic State terror attacks. But on Sunday, tens of thousands of people formed a human chain stretching for blocks. After the human chain action ended, thousands of Parisians and international activists defied the French ban on protests and tried to march through the downtown streets. They were met by hundreds of riot police, who used tear gas, sound bombs and pepper spray. More than 200 protesters were arrested. Democracy Now! was live on the scene interviewing people throughout the streets.
More than half a million people took part in rallies around the world ahead of today’s opening of the 21st United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris, France. President Obama and more than 100 other heads of state have arrived for two weeks of negotiations aimed at reaching an accord on global warming. Sunday’s global day of action for climate justice saw protesters rally in countries including Colombia, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Chile, Kenya, Canada, and Britain. Broadcasting from the Paris summit, we air some of their voices.
- Global Protests Demand Climate Action Ahead of Paris Summit
- Dozens Arrested as Paris Demonstrators Defy Protest Ban Ahead of Climate Summit
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- Planned Parenthood: Anti-Choice Rhetoric Feeding "Domestic Terrorism"
- Clinic Shooting Comes as GOP Seeks to Defund Planned Parenthood
- President Obama Demands Gun Control After Colorado Clinic Shooting
- Study: White Americans are Biggest Terror Threat in U.S.
- Activists: Russian Strike on Crowded Syrian Market Kills Dozens
- Thousands Join Anti-War Protests in Britain Ahead of Bombing Vote
- Prominent Kurdish Lawyer Shot Dead in Turkey; Thousands Protest Journalist Arrests
- Turkey, EU Reach Accord on Stopping Refugees
- NSA Formally Ends Bulk Collection of Phone Records
- Chicago Protesters Demand Resignation of Top Officials over Laquan McDonald Case
- U.S. Activists Stage Thanksgiving Fast Outside of Guantanamo Prison
- Robert Hinton, Fmr. Rikers Prisoner Compensated for Abuse, Shot Dead in NYC
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, "Between the World and Me," has been called "required reading" by Toni Morrison. "I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates," Morrison said. "Between the World and Me" is written as a letter to Coates’ 15-year-old son, Samori, and has been compared to "the talk" parents have with their children to prepare them for facing police harassment and brutality. The book is a combination of memoir, history and analysis. In July, Coates came to the Democracy Now! studio to talk about the book and his upbringing in Baltimore.
Today we spend the hour with Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the explosive book about white supremacy and being black in America. Titled "Between the World and Me," it is written as a letter to his teenage son, Samori. In July, Ta-Nehisi Coates launched the book in his hometown of Baltimore. He spoke at the historic Union Baptist Church. "It seems like there’s a kind of national conversation going on right now about those who are paid to protect us, who sometimes end up inflicting lethal harm upon us," Coates said. "But for me, this conversation is old, and I’m sure for many of you the conversation is quite old. It’s the cameras that are new. It’s not the violence that’s new."
Could Puerto Rico become America’s Greece? That’s a question many are asking as the island faces a devastating financial crisis and a rapidly crumbling healthcare system. Puerto Rico owes $72 billion in debt. $355 million in debt payments are due December 1, but it increasingly looks like the U.S. territory may default on at least some of the debt. Congress has so far failed to act on an Obama administration proposal that includes extending bankruptcy protection to Puerto Rico and allocating more equitable Medicaid and Medicare funding for the island. Meanwhile, Puerto Rican leaders in the United States are planning a massive lobbying day in Washington in early December to spur congressional action. In a holiday special, we feature a major speech by Democracy Now! co-host Juan González on "Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis: Economic Collapse in America’s Biggest Colony and What Can Be Done About It."
In our extended interview with Congressmember Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim member of Congress, he dismisses legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week to restrict Iraqi and Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States after the attacks in France. The Republican-backed measures would require top federal officials to sign off on every person from Iraq and Syria seeking refugee status. “We’ve had 750,000 refugees come into this country since the year 2001. None of them – not one – has been engaged in terrorism,” Ellison says. “Why then are we going to revamp our whole refugee resettlement program simply because of intimidation by Daesh?”
US Rep. Keith Ellison Demands Transparent, Aggressive Investigation of Police Killing of Jamar Clark
Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison has joined the chorus of people demanding transparency and the release of the video of the police killing of 24-year-old African-American Jamar Clark ten days ago. Authorities say police shot Clark in the head after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. But multiple witnesses say Clark was shot while handcuffed. Minneapolis police officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation. Ellison has also called for a Department of Justice investigation into Clark’s death, which has now begun. During a police raid last Wednesday, a police officer dressed in fatigues and carrying what appeared to be a gas-launching gun pointed his weapon at Ellison’s own son, Jeremiah. “It is a violation of decency,” Ellison says. “Shouldering a weapon against nonviolent protesters is aggressive… and it did not help de-escalate the situation at all.”
Eyewitness Recounts Shooting by Alleged White Supremacists at Minneapolis Black Lives Matter Protest
Nearly a thousand Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota Tuesday after alleged white supremacists opened fire on a demonstration the night before, injuring five people. Police have now arrested three people in connection with the mass shooting, which took place at a protest outside a police precinct. At least one of the gunmen was reportedly wearing a mask. All three suspects are white. Authorities may treat the shooting as a hate crime. Witnesses of the shooting say police took an unusually long time to respond to the attack, and then proceeded to use mace on the protesters. At the time of Monday’s attack, the Black Lives Matter protesters were gathered at an encampment outside a police precinct to protest the police killing of unarmed 24-year-old African-American Jamar Clark, which the Justice Department is now investigating. Authorities say Clark was shot in the head Sunday after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. But multiple witnesses say Clark was shot while handcuffed. We speak with eyewitness to Monday evening’s shooting Leslie Redmond, who is a student at The University of St. Thomas School of Law and president of the Black Law Student Association.
For the first time in three decades, a Chicago police officer faces charges of first-degree murder for an on-duty shooting. White police officer Jason Van Dyke was arrested on Tuesday and is being held without bail for the killing of African-American 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. It was more than a year ago, on October 20, 2014, when officer Van Dyke shot the teenager 16 times, including multiple times in the back. Police claimed McDonald lunged at the officer with a small knife. But newly released dashcam footage showed the teenager walking away from the police officers’ cars when another police car pulls up to the scene. The video, which has no sound, then appears to show Officer Jason Van Dyke jumping out of the car, pointing his gun at McDonald and opening fire. The teenager’s body spins as he is hit with the barrage of bullets and then falls to the pavement, where he continues to be struck by bullets. Officer Van Dyke remained on paid desk duty after the shooting until he was taken into custody on Tuesday. In addition to the fatal shooting last October, Officer Van Dyke had at least 18 civilian complaints against him, which included excessive use of force, illegal arrest and use of racial slurs. None of these complaints led to any disciplinary action. This week Chicago police announced they will also move to fire officer Dante Servin, who killed 22-year-old African-American woman Rekia Boyd in 2012. We discuss the developments in Chicago with Barbara Ransby, professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies and History at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
- Chicago Cop Indicted as Video of Laquan McDonald Killing Released
- Minneapolis: 3 Arrested in Shooting of Black Lives Matter Protesters
- Classes Cancelled over Racist Threats at Western Washington U.
- Tunisia Declares State of Emergency After Bombing Kills 12
- Obama, Hollande Vow to Increase Airstrikes Against ISIS
- Hollande: Climate Talks a "Beautiful Symbol" after Paris Attacks
- French Activists Vow to Protest During Paris Climate Talks
- Russia Condemns Turkish Downing of Warplane
- Liberia: Teen Dies of Ebola, Marking 1st Fatality in Months
- Missouri Supreme Court Overturns Conviction of Reggie Clemons
- Human Rights Activists Launch Encampment, Fast at Guantánamo
- U.S. Military Report Concludes Hospital Bombing Resulted from Errors
- Media Activist Wally Bowen Dies at 63
The firestorm of controversy that erupted over whether the United States should continue to accept Syrian refugees after the deadly attacks in Paris includes a bill by House Republican lawmakers to restrict Iraqi and Syrian refugees from resettling here. At least 31 U.S. states have said they will not accept the refugees, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said, "We can’t have them. They are going back." Others are drawing historical parallels with a different refugee crisis the country faced in the 1930s, when Jewish refugees sought refuge here. Case Western Reserve University history professor Peter Schulman recently tweeted a Fortune Magazine poll question from 1939 that asked, "Should the U.S. government permit 10,000 mostly Jewish refugee children to come in from Germany?" The results showed 61 percent of respondents at the time said no. Among those seeking refuge and denied entry were Anne Frank and her family. "The nativist response then has very clear echos now," says Ishaan Tharoor, foreign affairs reporter for The Washington Post, whose recent article is headlined, "Yes, the comparison between Jewish and Syrian refugees matters." We also speak with Ilya Lozovsky, an editor at Foreign Policy and author of the article, "I’m a Russian-born American Jew. My people’s rejection of Syrian refugees breaks my heart." He says he decided to speak out because "[e]ven if Donald Trump never becomes president, this type of discourse has become legitimized."
As Chicago braces for protests ahead of the release of video footage of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, we speak with Charlene Carruthers, the National Director of the Black Youth Project 100. Her organization declined a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office on Monday as the city tries to quell impending protests. "For us, it was important not to take a meeting with the mayor where it was clear to us that this series of meetings was about how are we going to quell our fears — being the mayor’s office’s fears — about what young, black people are going to do once this video is released," Carruthers said. "They’re very concerned with the city remaining peaceful, but unfortunately, the community, or the target, that is being told to remain peaceful is not the Chicago Police Department."
Chicago is bracing for several new developments in the police-involved death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot and killed over a year ago. Officer Jason Van Dyke will reportedly be charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday, and the city has until Wednesday to release the video footage of the shooting, ordered last week by Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama. An autopsy report shows McDonald was shot 16 times on October 20, 2014, including multiple times in the back. Police have said that the teenager lunged at the officer with a small knife. But people who have seen the video from police dashcam footage say it contradicts the police account, instead showing Van Dyke opening fire on the teenager while he was walking away, and continuing to shoot him even after the teenager was lying on the pavement. Despite the fact that McDonald’s family did not file a lawsuit, the city paid them $5 million in April and fought to conceal the video, even after the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and a freelance journalist all filed FOIA requests for its release. Van Dyke remains on paid desk duty, as the shooting is investigated by the FBI and the United States attorney’s office in Chicago. For more we are joined by Jamie Kalven, founder of the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit journalism outlet that recently released tens of thousands of pages of civilian complaints filed against the Chicago Police Department — 97 percent of which resulted in absolutely no disciplinary action. Kalven is also the freelance journalist who uncovered Laquan McDonald’s autopsy report.
- Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet Near Syrian Border
- Brussels Remains Under Highest Alert with Soldiers, Tanks in Streets
- France: Police Raids Continue as Officials Find Suicide Belt
- Hollande to Press Obama over ISIS Offensive
- Report: White Phosphorus Used in Strikes on Syrian City of Raqqa
- Minnesota: 5 Black Lives Matter Protesters Shot by White Suspects
- Oregon: Black Student Assaulted in Apparent Hate Crime
- Chicago: Cop to Face Charges in Killing of Laquan McDonald
- California City to Pay $4.9M for Police Killing of Homeless Man
- Trump Doubles Down on Claim Muslims Celebrated 9/11
- Doctors Without Borders Identifies 14 Staff Killed in U.S. Strike